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July 26, 2022

Quick Getaways to Enjoy Via Transit

by Samantha Huff

Does getting away from the city sound enticing, but the thought of driving makes you wince? Did you know you can take a quick day or weekend trip by using local or regional transit? Whether you want to travel a few miles or plan for something a bit farther away, we’ve got you covered. Below you’ll find several destinations highlighted that you can easily get to. It doesn’t matter if you are a solo traveler or a group, let us show you how easy it can be to hop on transit. All you need to do is pick a destination! 

Day Trips 

Charlottesville, VA 

 The City of Charlottesville, VA is 100 miles southwest of Washington, DC. It is home to President Thomas Jefferson’s famed estate Monticello and President James Monroe’s notable estate Highland. Charlottesville is the gateway to the Shenandoah National Park and a section of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The city offers a suburban feel to residents and visitors. The historic Downtown Mall has 120 shops and 30 restaurants that cater to discerning tastes. The city has numerous biking and walking trails, including scooter and bikeshare providers to help you decompress.   

  • Greyhound – Union Station to Charlottesville, VA  
  • Amtrak – Union Station to Charlottesville, VA 
  • Virginia Breeze – Union Station to Charlottesville, VA 

National Air and Space Museum (UDVAR-Hazy Center)  

Interested in learning more about aviation and historic space artifacts? Located in Chantilly, VA, the National Air and Space Museum at the UDVAR-Hazy Center is home to space-related displays in two large hangars. Get a glimpse of spacesuits, uniforms, engines, rockets, manuscripts, and more! The rare collection keeps audiences engaged and curiously absorbed in the history of aviation.   

National Museum of the Marine Corps  

Located in Triangle, VA, the National Museum of the Marine Corps (NMMC) provides a tribute to past, present, and future U.S. Marines through innovative and interactive technology. Galleries in the museum feature the induction of military life and highlight Marine contributions in the American Revolution, World War I, World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War. The NMMC captures over 200 years of Marine Corps history and admission is FREE.  

National Museum of the United States Army 

Established on June 14, 1775, the Army is the oldest branch of the United States military. Learn the Army’s historical significance in founding the nation. The National Museum of the United States Army celebrates over 245 years of history and honors soldiers in the Army, Army Reserve, and the Army National Guard. Twelve exhibits are currently featured. Read heartfelt soldier profiles during various time periods, and watch and listen to oral interviews from September 11. Although admission is FREE, ticket requests are timed and limited.  

  • Take the Blue Line to Franconia-Springfield Metrorail station. Transfer for the Fairfax Connector Route 334 (Newington Circulator) to the museum. Buses operate on weekdays only. 
  • Take the VRE (Fredericksburg Line) to Franconia-Springfield Metrorail station. Transfer for the Fairfax Connector Route 334 (Newington Circulator) to the museum. Buses operate on weekdays only. 
  • Fairfax Connector Route 171 (Richmond Highway) operates on the weekend only. 
  • Bike lanes parallel Liberty Drive and Fairfax County Parkway. Bike racks are available at the museum. 

Solomons Island  

A popular day trip, especially during the summer or on holidays, Solomons Island is a major boating community in Calvert County, MD. Visitors enjoy fishing, dining along the waterfront on mouthwatering seafood delicacies, or hanging at the local Tiki bar. The best way to get around the island is by walking or biking. The locals have dubbed it “bar-cycling” because that’s the easiest way to get from the marina to the bar. There are plenty of bikes to rent and if you don’t own a boat, you can charter one. For those who decide they want to stay a little longer, there is a beautiful bed and breakfast that overlooks the harbor.  

  • Take the MTA Route 725 to California, MD. Ride a taxi or Uber to Solomons Island, 12-minute drive.  

Six Flags America  

Families, thrill seekers, fried Oreo aficionados, and water ride enthusiasts unite! Six Flags America – Thrill Capital of DC is located in Bowie, MD. It’s the ultimate destination for family fun, date night, or friend bonding. Enjoy exciting rides, your go-to favorites, live entertainment, and enough carnival-like food fare to last a lifetime. There are amusing attractions for everyone, so go ahead and make some more memories.  

Weekend Trips 

Purcellville, VA

Located in Loudoun County, VA, Purcellville is a suburban community that’s approximately 40 miles from Washington, DC. It is the perfect location to de-stress during an extended holiday weekend. Escape to a bed and breakfast and take cooking lessons or attend a wine festival. Visit vintage clothing shops; antique furniture stores; ice cream parlors; savory BBQ restaurants; and the famed Franklin Park to swim, play tennis, and fish. There are also free monthly nature walks led by local experts.  

New River Valley   

Seeking a slower pace in a quiet, small-town community? Relax and inhale the fresh air of New River Valley, located in southwestern Virginia in the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, there are plenty of opportunities to bike, hike, kayak, fish, and more! Annual festivals, farmer’s markets, entertainment venues, and a performing arts center display the culture of the locals, and notability makes this quaint community a haven of solace.   

  • Virginia Breeze – Washington, DC to Radford, VA, Blacksburg, VA, or Christiansburg, VA  
  • OurBus – Washington, DC to Radford, VA, Blacksburg, VA, or Roanoke, VA  
  • Amtrak – From Union Station  

Rehoboth Beach  

Looking for a sun-kissed beach destination? Take a ride to Rehoboth Beach. Enjoying water sports activities and hearing the soothing waves aren’t the only attractions. The city is a bike-friendly community and encourages visitors to explore their bike trails. Visitors can ride their scooters along the boardwalk, but restrictions apply. Be sure to park in designated areas only.  

Richmond  

Calling all history buffs: Richmond, VA is the perfect getaway for the historian in you. It has over 400 years of stories to tell. Learn about the American Revolution, Civil War, Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, Emancipation Proclamation, and other historic sites. Spend time at Henricus Historic Park, home to the famed Native American Pocahontas, and learn more about her association with the colonial settlement at Jamestown. Are you a devoted cyclist? The Virginia Capital Trail connects Jamestown and Richmond along the Route 5 corridor. Take the scenic ride when visiting. 

Shenandoah Valley  

Approximately 140 miles long, Shenandoah Valley shares the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains, along with neighboring New River Valley. The region is best known for the scenic Shenandoah National Park and its grand, breathtaking caverns. There are multiple hiking trails, camping grounds, and lodging for visitors. The Summer Festival is in full swing. Relax and enjoy the sounds of Blue Grass music from the locals.  

  • OurBus – Washington, DC to Harrisburg, VA, and Roanoke, VA  
  • Virginia Breeze – Washington, DC to Front Royal, VA, Lexington, VA and Staunton, VA  

Virginia Beach  

One beach getaway that has it all is Virginia Beach, which offers a variety of activities to enjoy, such as beach yoga, spa packages, nature walks, soaking up the sun, and water sports. Explore six miles of untouched nature at False Cape State Park or see barrier islands, dunes, and beach woodlands at Back Bay Wildlife Refuge. Visit First Landing, a registered natural landmark that is the most visited state park in Virginia. It contains one of the most endangered habitats in the world—the maritime forest community. Experience a myriad of delicious culinary delights, listen to live entertainment, or take the stairs to the top of the Cape Henry Lighthouse. Walk the Military Aviation Museum or through haunted buildings. The list of things to do is endless!  

Williamsburg  

One of America’s first planned cities, Williamsburg, VA, is internationally known for its colonial history and regionally known for its quaint shops. It offers an arts museum, Busch Gardens, the Chickahominy Riverfront Park, biking and hiking trails, fishing, parks, and more! There are plenty of kid-friendly fun options, too. Williamsburg is the perfect escape not too far from the city, but feels like it’s a world away.  

These are just a few of the quick trips that can be reached by local or regional transit. All it takes is a little planning to hop a ride to your next getaway. So, pick your destination, pack your bag, and let someone else do the driving.   

Happy Traveling! 



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